ramsac IT survey shows 55% of companies worry about the security implications of using Cloud

Results also suggest majority of those that favour the Cloud will implement it within the next two years

A survey of UK business IT chiefs commissioned by ramsac, an IT solutions consultancy based in Surrey, has revealed that fears over security are slowing the take up of Cloud Computing Solutions. Whilst 94% of responders believe they fully understand the benefits and risks, only 44% believe it offers a secure enough alternative to more traditional on premises based systems. Despite these questions, a noteworthy 44% said they would consider implementing more Cloud elements into their IT services portfolio to realise its potential benefits.

Managing Director of ramsac, Robert May, comments, “Whilst there is a huge buzz around the potential benefits of using the Cloud there is also, understandably, a reticence to blindly passing over some of the most mission critical systems to be hosted and run by a third party. The traditional method of hosting your own servers and connecting them to the Internet has served most businesses well in the past, so the suggestion of such a massive change in the paradigm obviously raises a lot of questions and potential fears over the real-world connotations. It’s up to the IT industry to demystify exactly what the Cloud is and what it can offer, so customers can make informed choices and to help them find the right fit for their IT needs.

ramsac’s survey delved deeper into the specific concerns over using Cloud services with some interesting results. The most prominent fear highlighted by responders is the lack of liability for providers in the event of problems (cited by 55%). This was closely followed up by concerns over privacy, which was registered by half the companies polled. Understandably the loss of control over services and data ranked highly (39%) and uncontrolled or variable costs, as well as the availability of services and data were both cited by 22% of responders.

Another important consideration is the degree with which companies are prepared to rely upon Cloud services. The survey showed that of those looking to utilise Cloud services, a significant 83% want to use a hybrid Cloud model which uses both traditional ‘on premise’ servers for some applications, whilst hosting others off site in a secure data centre (allowing the retention of key systems in-house whilst making the most of other hosted services to find an ideal balance of cost and functionality). Robert May adds, “We’re not surprised the survey showed businesses are looking to mix both traditional and Cloud services. There is a vast range of choice available and we advise our clients that it is best to treat it like a menu, picking the items that suit your requirements best and offer the best mix to achieve value for money.”

The survey also suggested that the question of using Cloud Computing is very much dictated by the type of application as well. The results show Email was the top candidate for Cloud, with 77% of responders citing it as a key area. This was followed by CRM with 39%, Payroll with 17%, Accounts with 17%, Project Management with 16% and HR and Procurements both highlighted by 5% of responders as potential Cloud services.

Robert May concludes, “Despite the obvious concerns over moving completely to a Cloud Computing model there is an undeniable interest in it as an alternative to the traditional in-house IT hosting. It’s also something that once an organisation has its sights on it, it is often very keen to move at least some business functions over quickly to take advantage. Our survey showed that of all the companies making the decision to use Cloud, 50% want to do so within the next twelve months and the rest intend to do so within the next one to two years – so we are likely to see the trend really take off in the immediate future.”

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